Moravian Church in North America

In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.

Moravian Church in North America
North: Bethlehem, Pa.
South: Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Western District News & Notes, June 2017

“Bruce’s Babblings” – Notes from our District President

My life recently has been one of comings and goings. I am excited to rejoice with Greg Behrend, Ben Lippert, and Mandy Mastros (from the Eastern District) who have recently graduated from Moravian Seminary. Greg and his wife Amy are expecting their first child toward the end of August. Ben recently married the former Emily Toyberg on May 20 and I had the honor to officiate at that wedding. I also acknowledge that two of our Western District Pastors, Rev. Garritt Fleming and Rev. Sanette Francis, were married on May 27 in Bethlehem, PA.

I have received several invitations for graduation parties in Lake Mills. Unfortunately, because of my travels I was not able to attend any of the parties.

It has been good to unofficially welcome David Sobek to Lake Mills as he begins his work as pastor of the Lake Mills Moravian Church. As Dave begins at Lake Mills it creates an opening at Our Savior’s Moravian in Altura, MN.

As I am typing this I am sitting in a hotel room in Fargo, ND. I want you to know that this is not leisure in North Dakota. Because of techno-logy I have been involved in a conference call, had several work phone calls, and have sent and received several work emails while being “away from the office.” I wonder how my predecessors did it before today’s technology! One of the reasons I am in North Dakota is to get my daughter Alyssa Nelson acclimated to her summer internship as she serves the Goshen congregation for the summer. After summer she will return to Moravian Seminary for her second academic year.

James Heroux has completed two years of seminary and is currently doing Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) during the summer. He will be back at seminary for his third and final year of studies. I encourage you to keep Greg and Amy, Ben and Emily, James, and Alyssa in your thoughts and prayers as they either serve the church or continue in their educational development to serve the church in the future.

I also recently received word that Sister Alice Sautebin had passed away. Bishop Warren Sautebin and Alice were the pastoral family during many of my growing up years in Sturgeon Bay. Bishop Sautebin, who passed away several years ago, was my ordaining bishop. Alice lived in the same assisted living facility that my mother did and I would often see her when I was up to visit with my mother. I am saddened but also celebrating the news of Alice’s death. She deeply missed her husband after he passed away and her quality of life was not what it once had been. She was ready to move on to eternal life but family and friends will miss her.

On a personal level I have also seen some new beginnings and some causes for celebration. It is a joy to hold my almost 2-month-old granddaughter. I feel like when she is sleeping in my arms that all is right with the world. We (the Nelson family) also are planning a 100th birthday celebration for my mother who turns 100 in December of this year. We realize that there is a possibility that she will not make it to 100 but it is also possible that you or I may not be around in December. Lots of things could happen between now and then. In the in between time we will make plans to celebrate!

I have now been in the position of President of the Western District Executive Board of the Moravian Church Northern Province (try saying that fast 5 times) for exactly one year. The year has flown by. One of the blessings that I get to see is the comings and goings through-out the district. In the local parish I was able to see blessings in one setting. In my current position I get to see blessings in several settings.

I would encourage you, as we begin the summer season, to take enough time to slow down and experience the comings and goings, the signs of new life, the blessings that are around you.

Serving Christ with you,
Pastor Bruce J. Nelson


Crossroads Online Summer Book Club

Crossroads Online Summer Book Club at Moravian Seminary: Just Mercy (May 23) facilitated by Rev. Cynthia Simmons, The Book of Joy (June 20) led by Rev. Maggie Wellert, Why I Left, Why I Stayed (July 18) with Dr. Jill Peters, and The Morning They Came For Us (August 15) with Rev. Dr. Deborah Appler, Professor of Old Testament / Hebrew Bible. Sign up for one night ($10 each) or for the whole series ($30) at /crossroads. For more information, contact Jill Peters at petersj2@ Come join us for great conversations – completing each book is helpful but not necessary.


Plus 50 Retreat

The Plus 50 Retreat for those age 50 and older will be held from Thursday, August 17th – Sunday, August 20th at Mt. Morris Camp and Conference Center. What do we do at Plus 50? Sing & Eat & Play! Engage in Group Reflection on Bible verses! Enjoy Each Other & God’s Creation! Registration: 4:00 pm Thursday followed by dinner at 5:30 pm. We end with brunch on Sunday. Cost per person includes all meals and 3 nights lodging:

  • Black Oak $185 Cabin $144
  • Campsite $81 for three nights and meals $87 per person

Registration information has been sent to your local congregation. Reserve your spot now with a $50 deposit by August 1. Feel free to contact our program director, Wanda Veldman at or (715) 884-6419.


New Moravian Worship Resource Survey

The PEC’s of both provinces, meeting jointly last fall, authorized the formation of a committee to explore whether or not it’s time to begin work towards a new Moravian worship resource (“book of worship” and/or other sorts of resources). The New Moravian Resource Exploration Committee (Thomas Baucom, Rebecca Craver, Brian Dixon, Chris Giesler, Aaron Linville, Lillian Shelton) invites you to choose and complete the survey listed below that is appropriate for you.

Survey for pastors, music directors, members of worship & music committees & those actively involved in worship planning:

Survey for anyone in a Moravian congregation who wishes to participate:

More explanation and detail and a printable PDF of the surveys are available at www.moravianmusic .org/moravian-worship-resource-survey


Mission Lovefeast

Southern Wisconsin Moravians for Mission is excited to have Bishop Kay Ward as the guest speaker at the annual Lovefeast which is scheduled for Sunday, September 17th at 2:00 pm. Bishop Ward is an author and taught at Moravian Theological Seminary for 16 years prior to her retirement. The Lovefeast will be held at the Glenwood Moravian Community Church located at 725 Gilmore Street in Madison. There will be a light meal following the Lovefeast. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to bring a friend.


Tour the Holy Land

Rev. Sanette Francis and Rt. Rev. Hopeton Clennon are organizing a Moravian pilgrimage to the Holy Land from January 3rd – 12th, 2018. The price starts at $2,998 and includes roundtrip international airfare from New York Kennedy airport, deluxe motor coaches, first class hotels, and daily buffet breakfast and dinner. Register online at

Moravian Daily Texts


Friday, August 17 — Psalm 100
Joshua 24:14–Judges 1:16; Luke 18:1–17

The Lord said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city?” Jonah 4:10–11 (NASB)

Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other. 1 Corinthians 10:24

Creating Lord—you trusted us with one of the biggest responsibilities of all time: to care for your creation and all that is in it. Creation speaks to us and cannot be pushed past its boundaries. Help us tune our ears to listen to the voices that do not sound like ours. Amen.

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